Thursday, December 30, 2010

What Tron Taught Me

Spoiler Alert:  The following post contains some of my musings after seeing the movie Tron: Legacy.  While I am not writing out a summary of the movie, my musings will definitely reveal many of the plot points.  If this offends you turn back now, or proceed at your own risk.

The Company I work for has a fabulous tradition of going to see a movie sometime in December during the work day.  This tradition is what is commonly known as awesome.  This year the movie of choice was Tron: Legacy.  It was a fun movie, not life changing or anything but I did notice some important life lessons as I was watching the movie.  Here are the things I discovered in no particular order.

Programmers have Phenomenal Cosmic Powers
Kevin Flynn was seen by all of the programs as a messianic character.  They showed him reverence as their creator.  No program I have written has ever worshiped me, but apparently that's only because in our world the programs are sets of instructions that just do what they're told.  In the computer world, a simple binary translator program could be rocking at a light cycle game or chilling at the bar.

In the same way, in our world I have to write code to make stuff happen.  In the computer world I just hold up my hands and magic happens.  I don't think anyone in our world appreciates how cool programmers are.

I Want one of These
I'm just sayin'

Bad Guys Glow Red
I think our world could be improved if bad guys always glowed red and good guys glowed blue or white.  Imagine if a sketchy salesman was trying to sell you something.  Is he glowing blue?  You can trust him.  If not, just walk away.  (I know, that one dude that betrayed them wasn't glowing red but he wasn't glowing at all so I'm pretty sure you can trust people if they're glowing blue.)

My brain is in HD
This new movie had some super sweet graphics for the light cycles and the other contests.  The strange thing is that when I saw the original Tron as a little kid I'm pretty sure the graphics were just as cool.  At least, I remember it looking cool.  But I went back and watched the original Tron and it turns out that my brain had upconverted the picture that I saw as a little child, because the movie itself is pretty ghetto.  Who knew?

Thirteen is in the computer world
On the TV show House, the character known as 13 vanished quite abruptly.  It turns out she was in the computer world the whole time.  Not even Dr. Gregory House was able to figure that one out.

That's all the information I learned from watching Tron.  Do you have anything you would like to add?

Saturday, December 25, 2010

The Christmas Puzzle

One of my favorite Christmas traditions happens to be a tradition that Robyn despises.  You see, ever since I was a small child I have thoroughly enjoyed the process of feeling each gift, shaking it, listening to it, and deriving every bit of information that can be gathered without actually opening the gift.

To a seasoned present questioner, it's amazing how much information can be gathered without seeing the present.  A simple shaking can reveal the weight and the dimensions.  A little feeling can reveal shape and texture.  Once the basics have been found it's just a matter of querying the database in your brain.  You don't have to cross reference the information against everything in the world, you only have to cross reference it against things you want.  The important thing is that your brain should have stored all the information about everything that you want in a database table.  Then your brain just has to run a simple SQL query.  Something along the lines of "SELECT title FROM desired_items where width='x' AND weight='y'".  (If you don't understand the SQL query, don't worry, I just put that in for the benefit of the nerds.)

Robyn doesn't like this game.  She doesn't appreciate when I solve the puzzle.  She didn't like watching me pick up each present and then tell her what they were.  She doesn't understand the complex algorithms that are going on inside my head as I figure out height, weight and so on.

I have to say, despite her not liking this particular game, I was impressed with her skill.  Knowing of my excellent present shaking skills she did some work to hide the true information about some of my gifts.  One gift in particular, she put a small ziploc bag filled with Cap'n Crunch inside the box.  Thus when it was shaken, all that could be heard was the cereal.  Of course, I knew right away I was hearing cereal, but I was unable to pick out the proper sounds.

My mom, who has witnessed my skills for longer than Robyn has, especially enjoys the thrill of challenging me.  She had one particular gift that she handed me and dared me to figure it out.  I have to admit, she defeated me.  How could I possibly know that there could be this level of coolness?  Here is me with my cute new pet Cthulhu.
(If you don't know who Cthulhu is, he's an evil demon thought up by H.P. Lovecraft who telepathically enslaves people or drives them mad.  He's also very cute, as seen above.)

Of course, my mother didn't stop there.  She also challenged me with another gift.  She wrote a note on the outside saying, "This will help make it easier to have children."  Again, I couldn't guess this one.  She gave me this awesome binky that makes a baby look like a vampire.
She has me there.  Who wouldn't want to make their precious baby look like a vampire?  What she failed to take into account was that I make a pretty precious vampire myself.  I bet she didn't see that coming.

Isn't Christmas great?  Of course, there are many reasons to enjoy Christmas besides presents (and solving the great mystery of presents.)  I enjoyed spending the day with family and loved ones.  I hope everyone had a very merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Magic of Work Parties

Thursday was a day of love.  It started with me going to the Salt Lake Temple where Robyn's sister Megan was sealed to her new husband Graham.  I've written before about my excitement about their wedding.  It was so fun to see how happy they are together.  It brought back memories of my own wedding and the feelings I felt.  It is possible, however unlikely, that they are actually more precious than Robyn and I.

It would be impossible to convey the full preciousness to anyone who wasn't there.  So to help you understand their preciousness I have included the following picture of Meggy Weggy and Grahamy Wammy in their most precious state.
(Robyn and I were in charge of making their wedding video so I scanned lots of precious pictures.)

But, if you thought that was enough love for the day you would be wrong.  I now must share with you the tale of Chase and Lauren.

You see, while I was celebrating the fact that I had gained a new brother in Graham.  Chase took his girlfriend,  Lauren, on a super sweet date.  On this date, he asked her a very important question.  No, he didn't ask her who her favorite Star Wars character is.  (But that would be an important question as well.)  He asked her to marry him, and she said yes!  This means that not only do I get a new brother-in-law in Graham but I get a new coworker-in-law in Lauren.  That is a lot of love.

(Chase has not put me in charge of scanning pictures of him, so I don't have precious pictures.  I scoured his facebook page to find a pic of him and Lauren, but I couldn't find one.  So here is a pic of him with Boba Fett.)

To fully understand their story, you need to know a bit of my story.  Three years ago, Robyn and I had our first date to a work Christmas party.  The following year I went to the same Christmas party with her as my wife.

Chase and Lauren went on their first date after Chase's mission to a Summer Barbecue hosted by our work.  Now that they are engaged we see the power of work parties.  I don't know if they have magic at every company but they certainly do at the company I work at.

I tried to explain the power of work parties to my other coworker, Ben.  (The one who is mistaken about Frosted Mini Wheats)  He took a girl on a first date to our Christmas party this year.  I hope he is ready to marry her because we know that's what will happen.

That, my friends, will be a lot of love.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Christmas Card

I like Christmas cards.  Whether it's a silly dancing Santa, some sort of awkward penguin or a precious family picture it's always fun to know that friends are thinking of you.

I received a Christmas card from my friends Josie and Bart (and their son Dave).  It had a precious picture of them on the front.  But, more important was the wisdom that was shared on the back.

These are the immortal words of the Christmas Card.
Jeff + Robyn = awesomeness

So far so good.  I've tested that hypothesis and found it to be true. The card continues:

I also concur with that postulate.  I'm starting to see where this is going.  Finally, the conclusion of the card:
Without Jeff and Robyn, Christmas wouldn't exist. 

That is good logic.  It tastes good.  Do you see how they used the transitive  property of mathematics to come upon that conclusion? (whenever A = B and B = C, then also A = C.)

I have such wise friends.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

The Magic of Christmas

Christmas is two weeks from yesterday. It is a magical time of year. Ever since I was small, there was always something magical about Christmas.

I remember once when I was around 5 or 6 years old I began to doubt the existence of Santa Clause. I determined that what I needed was empirical evidence to either confirm or deny that Santa Clause was the source of my presents. I was very small at the time (as opposed to the towering monolith of manliness that I am today) and so I could squeeze into tight places. I determined that I would find a good hiding place in view of the Christmas Tree where I would wait out the night on Christmas Eve.

I figured that I would either see Santa Clause or my parents, and this would provide me with the evidence I needed to determine once and for all if there was a large elf who could travel at faster than light speeds delivering presents to all 6 billion residents of the planet in one night.

Well, as I lay in my hiding place the time marched on. From the perspective of my child brain I remember laying there for hours upon hours. It could have possibly been days or even weeks. Of course, judging from how children that I know view the world, it was probably 15 or 20 minutes. But after that eternal amount of time I began to doubt my doubts. I thought that if there was a Santa Clause he would probably be aware that I was watching. He probably wouldn't come because I was there. I decided that I wasn't willing to risk the pain of not receiving presents. It wasn't worth it, even for the knowledge gained. I retired to my bed, bested by Santa Clause.

I suppose a part of me didn't want to lose the magic. Since then, I have been in the room when my mom put the presents under the tree. As a teenager I apparently stayed up later then my parents were willing to wait. I rebuked them for ruining the magic, but I'm sure they were just assisting Santa. He does have a lot of people to visit.

The magic still lives today, but it's no longer about Santa Clause. I wanted to share a few of the things that still feel magical to me.

Robyn doesn't like snow. While she was growing up, their version of a white Christmas was a foggy day. I told her that California doesn't have real Christmas. There's something about a freshly fallen Snow, and the Christmas lights as they shine through it. I love the feeling when you stand outside as the snow is falling and the world looks completely clean and untouched. The snow all around has never been stepped in, it's like the world has been born again.

I love to receive presents, I'm not gonna lie. But I also really love giving that perfect gift, the one that surprises and delights the receiver. Robyn says I get a "sneaky face" when I give her that gift. Our first Christmas together I apparently had the sneaky face on Christmas Eve and it caused her to wake up ridiculously early, and then quietly and pleadingly wake me up and ask "can we open presents now?"

There's something magical about being with those you love. You can relax, laugh together and feel all the warm fuzzy feelings that make Christmas amazing.

The miracle of our Savior's birth and life
The greatest Christmas gift any of us has ever received is the miracle of forgiveness. Our Savior paid for our sins so that each of us could become clean and be allowed to live again in our Father's kingdom. Through him we can overcome death as well as our own wretched sins.

I hope you all have a wonderful merry Christmas. What are some of the things that you think are magical about this time of year?

Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Sign of the Trident

I'm pretty sure I'm a demigod.  I know that sounds crazy, but how else do you explain the signs I've received?  I'm getting ahead of myself, I suppose I should probably explain the miraculous signs.

There is something you should know before I tell my story.  First, I feel that Sheldon should explain the difference between a fork and a trident.  Watch this video:

As Sheldon so eloquently puts it, "tridents are for ruling the seven seas."  Well, that brings me to my story.  On Thursday night Robyn and I went out to dinner at Mimi's Cafe.  They served us dinner, but they also gave us this:

I joked to Robyn that I didn't know whether I should eat or rule the seven seas.  But beyond that, I thought nothing of it.  Then last night, we had the company Christmas party for my work.  It was a very fancy and delicious dinner, but when I sat down I noticed this.
Well, obviously since I just joked about it the night before, the sign had to be sent again.  It is very reminiscent of the book The Lightning Thief (not the movie, it was a sad rendition of the book).  Percy Jackson got in an awesome sword fight where he beat everybody up.  When he stood in the water it healed all his wounds and he looked up and saw a glowing Trident above his head, it was sent from Poseidon to let him know that Percy was his son.

Clearly Poseidon was sending me a message.  I am meant to rule the seven seas.  I think this means I should take more trips to the beach.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

A Day of Gratitude and Turkey

I know I'm a few days late.  Thanksgiving was Thursday and here it is Saturday.  I know it was sooo two days ago and it's not hip to write about it now.  But, I just had to share some things I'm thankful for, as well as some fun adventures I've had over the last couple days.

I'm thankful for modern technology
It's funny.  I hate airplanes.  They are incredibly uncomfortable.  The temperature is too hot.  The seats are too small.  The food isn't very good. But yet, I fly on them anyway.  Why is that?  We could have driven to California to see my in-laws.  But that would take too much time and I'd rather of the convenience of sitting on an uncomfortable plane for 2 hours.

Sometimes I think we take the blessings of modern technology for granted.  150 years ago, it would have taken several months for us to pull a handcart from Utah to California.  There would be no short Thanksgiving trips.  Today we whine because we have to turn off our cell phones on a plane, or because they charge us extra to watch a movie.  We have so many blessings that we get cranky because our blessings aren't more convenient.  (Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't mind a more comfortable seat, but I'm grateful we have the ability to fly across the country relatively cheaply.)

I'm thankful for cool gadgets
For Thanksgiving dinner this year I was the CPO (Chief Peeling Officer) I was in charge of peeling various items from apples to sweet potatoes.  Peeling the apples was the most fun.  I got to use this cool medieval torture device.
I'm sure Jack Bauer would use this device to get terrorists to reveal the location of the nuclear bomb.  My job was not quite that interesting (but at the same time, it was more awesome.)  I was in charge of placing an apple on the device and torturing the apple until it had no more peel.  Afterward, it was important for Robyn and I to reveal how precious we were by doing the Lady and the Tramp strategy with an apple peel.

I know our preciousness is hard to handle.

I'm thankful for fun puzzles
My sister-in-law made the mistake of letting her children read her high school yearbook.  There was a particular individual who wrote some embarrassing things that they found amusing.  They told me about it and I was also amused.  We decided we needed to see a picture of him, but they couldn't remember his last name and she wouldn't tell us.  This limited information made for an excellent puzzle.  It involved doing some calculations to figure out what year she graduated, googling the class of that year, figuring out his name and then finding him on facebook.  I'm thankful for fun nieces and nephews that help me play fun puzzle solving games and I'm also thankful for tolerant sisters-in-law who tolerate me egging on her children.

I'm thankful for mashed potatoes
They're awesome.

I'm thankful for fanciness
I'm used to large family gatherings with numerous cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents, long lost relatives, strangers, lost tribes of Israel and so on.  This year Thanksgiving with Robyn's parents was much more intimate.  There were only 6 of us which allowed us to have a much smaller, more intimate and more fancy setting.

It is a well known fact that I'm not fancy but luckily, family loves me enough to not begrudge my lack of fanciness within a fancy setting.

All in all, it's been a great Thanksgiving and a great trip.  When I think about the first Thanksgiving, where many of them had starved to death and many of the others weren't sure what hardships tomorrow would bring, I find myself very grateful for the life I live.  I'm grateful for wonderful family and friends.  Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Tale of the New Cup: A Mystery

I know, I know. Sequels are never any good. It's hard to think of a case where there is a sequel that is as good or better than the original. (And don't even try to refute that by bringing up The Empire Strikes Back. It is not a sequel, it is part of a trilogy which was written as one story arc from the beginning.)

Nevertheless, when it comes to real life, things continue to happen even after great tragedies like losing a beloved blue cup. It's possible that this very blog may have lead to the occurrence of this sequel. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let me just explain what happened.

Tonight we had Sunday dinner with family. We made our way home and saw something strange on our door step. When we got closer we discovered that it was this "individual."
We were ever so perplexed.  But there was an envelope attached to him that said "Jeff."  I opened it up and found this letter:
I have traveled very far to find you Jeff.  The stories of your drinking prowess have reached the lands where I was born.  I heard that you had a vacancy and I am looking to be your loyal servant.  I will be good to you.  You can fill me up with any drink you want anytime.  I am easy to clean and so make it easy for you to use me again and again.  I have traveled all this way.  I hope that you will consider me a suitable servant.  I wish to live with you forever.  Please... I beg of you.  Fill me with drink and you will see how great I can be.  I look forward to calling you master and this place home.

Upon further examination of this new humble servant I found that his legs are actually large orange cups.  They certainly aren't the same as my blue cup, but I believe they could bring joy into my life.  I know not from what land this individual came.  But I believe a great blessing has come upon our household.

Of course, all of this brings to light many questions.

How did this servant know of my need?
Who might have sent him?
Why is there a big 4 on his shirt?
Why does he look so sad?
Are there other cup legged individuals out there numbered 1, 2 and 3?
Does he really want me to rip his legs off and drink out of them?

As you can see, this mystery is riddled with questions.  If any of you out there know the answers to these questions I'd love to hear them.  If some of you may have notified this servant of my need, I thank you.

But despite all the questions, I believe this could be the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Good bye my blue cup.  Hello my new cup.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

They're Coming For You

So I've been telling Robyn that she should say something funny in her sleep, because she hasn't for a long time. Last night, I guess she felt it had been long enough.

I was sleeping like a good kid. My peaceful snore was like the gentle flutter of butterfly wings. I suddenly awoke to Robyn's hand kind of poking me. She was feeling around until she felt my hand and grabbed it so that now we were holding hands. Then with her other hand she reached up and started pulling my pillow towards her.

Keep in mind, just one second earlier I was dancing with sugar plum fairies. Now I'm trying to comprehend why my wife felt that at 2 AM she needed to hold my hand and steal my pillow. My still slightly befuddled brain decided that she must have had a nightmare and she was afraid. I assumed the pulling of my pillow was an attempt to get me to move closer. (Often when we snuggle, I move my pillow to her side of the bed. Then when we go to sleep I move back to my side and enact the no touching policy.)(Yes, Grabbing my hand and pulling my pillow are in direct violation of the aforementioned no touching policy.)

So when I thought she must be afraid I ignored the violation of one of our most important policies and asked if everything was okay.

"They're coming next for you." was her reply. At this point I realized she was still asleep. I was so excited. I hoped she would say some really funny stuff. I was thinking about you, my dear readers.

"Who is coming?" I asked.

"You know, the stuff."

"What stuff?"

At this point she paused for a long time. Her eyes were still closed. I wondered if the moment had passed. She usually doesn't talk in her sleep for very long. I just asked her, "Are you asleep?"

"No, I'm NOT ASLEEP! I'm just thinking."

After a few more seconds she added, "The stuff they give you."

I just giggled to myself a little bit which prompted her to continue, "I'm not talking in my sleep. I'm just not talking very good."

I think at some point in this exchange she had woken up, but I wasn't entirely convinced yet. So I said, "Well, can you open your eyes?"

At this point she opened her eyes and said, "Yes they are open!" Then she got a little cranky at me and asked, "Why did you wake me up just to ask me a bunch of questions about deli sandwiches?"

I tried to explain that in the real world there had been no discussion about deli sandwiches. Apparently in the dream they were bringing me the platter of cheeses and meats. They were coming to allow me to go next to make my sandwich.

The moral of the story is that you should always be prepared to eat sandwiches. You never know when they might be coming next for you.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Tale of the Blue Cup: A Tragedy

The other night I was in the kitchen and Robyn was in the other room.  She heard me exclaim, "Oh No!"  with great sadness in my voice.

"What happened?" She yelled.  My reply was simple: "Something very bad."  Of course, she came running, fearing that I was dying.  What she didn't realize is that it was something much worse.  You see, I had dropped my beloved blue cup.  In an attempt to catch it in midair I accidentally smashed it up against the chair and delivered it a fatal blow in the from of a giant crack on the side.

This cup has been the official drinking receptacle in my life for a number of years.  It should be noted that I love Robyn more than the cup, but I have been with the cup longer than I've been with Robyn.  As you can see, the loss of this cherished blue cup is a great tragedy.

I told this tale of woe to James Blunt.  He wanted to give a tribute to our good friend The Blue Cup.  He and I collaborated on the following song.  (He wrote most of the lyrics and all of the music.  I just helped him make a couple minor tweaks.)

Goodbye my blue cup.  Goodbye my friend.

P.S. If the video doesn't play for you, you can go here

Saturday, November 6, 2010

More Baby Steps

A while back I wrote about some of the baby steps Robyn and I had taken. (Small steps, or steps toward a baby, depending on how you choose to interpret.)  I wanted to give you a little update on some of those steps.

First, the butterflies all survived to adulthood.  We released them into the world.  Much like human children, however, we did have one that would not leave.  He was thinking, "In here you feed me, out there I have to get my own food."  Eventually we just took the orange slice he was sitting on and set it outside.  I hope we don't have to do something similar when we have our own children.  Do we just set the kitchen table outside and hope they eventually go away?

Second, the garden was a phenomenal success.  We raised millions of tomatoes, lots of corn, cilantro, rosemary, pumpkins and even watermelon.  Whenever my mom asked me about when she was getting grandchildren I told her she was welcome to come babysit the watermelons.  They weighed as much as babies and you could totally hold them and rock them if you like. 
Here is a picture of Robyn giving the watermelon a bath.  But that is where we have to stop the baby metaphor because after this we ate the watermelon.  While some species do eat their young, it's just a little to creepy to think about.

Third, Jared is not dead.  Even though in this picture he is walking somewhat zombie like.  Remember that undead is not dead so it totally counts.

So, as you can see we've become quite the experts at keeping other organisms alive.  Does this mean we're ready for human organisms?  Well, I don't know when human organisms will come along, but I do know that when they do I reserve the right to behave exactly as the fathers in this video do.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

This is Halloween

This Halloween Robyn and I had some friends over and we carved pumpkins that we had grown in our garden. Here is a picture of us in our costumes with our precious little one. We have proven yet again that we can keep other life forms alive.

As I was carving, I was just going to make a mouth. I was thinking it could be the Mouth of Sauron.
But I wasn't sure if people would get it. So I added some angry eyes, just in case.

Of course, this year I dressed as Antoine Dodson for my costume. I tried to convince Robyn that we should both be the same thing but she wasn't a fan of the idea.  If you don't know who he is, you need to watch this and then this.

Once you have watched those two videos you can watch my video below. This was the crowning achievement of this year's Halloween.

Monday, October 25, 2010

The Infamous Primary Program

This past Sunday we had our Primary Program. (In my church, once a year we have the children, ages 3-11 put on a program for the whole congregation.  It consists of them singing songs and giving very short speaking parts, usually 1-2 lines.)  Robyn and I are in charge of the Sunbeams (the 3 and 4 year olds).  This meant that we got to be involved in all the practicing and we got to sit up on the stand during the actual program and attempt to get the kids to do what they're supposed to.

I have to admit, my attitude wasn't quite where it should have been.  I was not excited about the various practices we went through.  Trying to get 3 years olds to sit quietly for 2 hours while other kids practice speaking parts or various songs is not the funnest activity in the world.  And, of course, they're supposed to stand for each song which means that I am trying to whisper, "Stand up.  It's time to stand up.  Let's all stand up."  By the time they stand up the song is usually over and I'm whispering, "Sit down. Sit down.  Sit on your chair.  Sit. Sit. Sit."

The practice we did on Saturday was particularly rough.  We had gathered at the church on Saturday morning, and we were doing a run through of the whole program.  One of the kids turned to me and said in the whiniest voice he could muster, "This is taking foooooreeeeevvveeer."  What could I say?  I wanted to be home playing on a Saturday just as much as he did.  I thought if I gave him some numerical data that he could understand it would help him put in perspective how much longer we had.  So I said, "There are just 2 more songs."  After we sang another song he turned to me and said, "After one more song I can go home?"  I wasn't sure exactly what the plan was but I said, "Ya, I'm pretty sure."

Well,  I shouldn't have been so sure.  After we finished going through the whole program, the Primary President stood up and said, "You kids did such a good job on our first run through.  Let's run through the whole thing one more time."  Now, at this point I wanted to cry.  I couldn't imagine the anguish our little 3 and 4 year olds were feeling.  I knew that the second run through would do nothing for our sunbeams.  At this point the goal of the second run through was to get through it alive.  I turned to this particular boy and said, "I'm so sorry.  I was wrong.  Now there are 9 more songs."

The day of the actual program came.  During the program there was plenty of "Time to stand up." and "Sit down. Sit. Sit. Sit."  But despite all that, I think I finally got it.  I finally understood what it was all about.  I looked out at the audience and saw tears on the faces of many of the parents of our little children.  The children were almost yelling as they sang, "Follow the Prophet, don't go astray."  And I really felt that they believed it when they sang, "I know that my Savior loves me."  I finally understood why we worked so hard.

These children really do know their Savior.  They know the simple truths of the gospel, which are that Jesus Christ lives and that he loves each one of us.  They may not know the deeper doctrines.  They can't quote scripture and they don't know the difference between a Jew and a Samaritan but they know the important things, they know that they are children of God.

I said a little prayer to repent for my bad attitude.  The one tear came to my right eye as I pondered the gospel truths that we were learning from these little ones.  I understood at that moment why our Savior said that we should become as little children.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Truly Awesome: Bacon

Bacon, is there anything it can't do?

Yesterday Robyn was getting ready to go shopping.  She asked if there was anything she needed to buy that wasn't on her list.

Me: "Bacon"

Robyn: "We have bacon in the fridge."

Me: "We probably need more bacon."

Robyn: "We have more bacon in the freezer."

Me: "We probably need even more bacon."

Robyn: "We can't just spend all our money on bacon."

Me: "There are things in this world more important than money. Bacon is one of those things."

Naturally, Robyn just rolled her eyes.  But I was overwhelmed by my own wisdom and naturally went straight to twitter and facebook to share what I had just said.

In light of this new found wisdom, I have decided to write my second poem ever.  This time I wrote about bacon.

Ode To Bacon

Bacon, Dear Bacon
On a BLT I've found you are fun
Whether it be on a slice of bread or a bun.
I put bits of you in salad to make it great
Or I put you next to the eggs on my plate

Bacon, Dear Bacon
When you wrap around beef, it brings me joy.
Your salty taste makes me a happy boy.
You are delicious with any meal it is true.
If I had to live without you I'd be blue.

Dear, Dear Bacon.
How do you feel about bacon?  I feel it's so amazing I might even try Coke that was flavored like bacon.  (And I don't like Coke)
Okay, I might be willing to admit that that sounds disgusting.  But don't hold that against bacon.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Second Anniversary

Robyn planned our anniversary this year.  It was alot of fun.  She did an excellent job of giving us a weekend away.  Our get-away consisted of the following things.

Armstrong Mansion
We stayed in the Armstrong Mansion which was a really neat mansion that was built in 1893.  Francis Armstrong built it as a gift to his wife, Isabel.  It has since been made up into an inn much like the Anniversary Inn.  It was a really neat place and the breakfast was excellent as well.

Scary Pigeon
The temperature was a little warm in our room. I suggested we open the window to solve some of the problem with the hot temperature.  Robyn agreed that would be a good idea until she saw the pigeon.  It had built a nest right outside the window.  She was concerned that it would come inside and kill us in our sleep if we opened the window.  (That may not have been her exact concern, but it was something about it getting inside.)  After Robyn was asleep I decided I couldn't bear it anymore and opened the window.  What she didn't know didn't hurt her.  (Well, except for the part where the pigeon got really loud around 6 AM and woke us both up.  That part might have hurt her a little.)

Roller Coaster Bed
The bed in the Armstrong Mansion was soft and comfortable but it had one flaw.  You know those commercials where they show the mattress and it has a glass of wine on the bed and they drop a bowling ball on the other side of the bed to show how the glass doesn't even move?  Most beds are designed to absorb the motion, this bed somehow amplified it.  If you dropped a bowling ball on this bed it probably would have made the wine glass explode.  I felt bad for Robyn because I kept tossing and turning and by the time my tossing and turning motions were amplified on her end it probably felt like she was riding a bull.  But she held on, she didn't get bucked off once.

Salt Lake Temple
Neither of us had ever been inside the Salt Lake Temple.  We decided it would be fun to go do a session.  I was astounded at how ornate that temple is.  All temples are beautiful but the Salt Lake temple is definitely special.  Afterward we ate at the garden restaurant.  Our table overlooked the temple and we had a beautiful view.

Singles Ward - Marriage Talk
We visited Jared William's and Megan and Graham's ward up in Salt Lake.  They are in a singles ward.  When we sat down I turned to Jared and said, "I'm so excited to hear a talk about marriage."  I was half joking, I knew they talked about marriage alot but not every week. Sure enough, Sacrament meeting was all about marriage.  I'm so glad I'm not in a singles ward anymore.

Singles Ward - Robyn without a ring
Robyn left her ring in the hotel room after we checked out and didn't realize it until we were at church.  She had set it down to put lotion on her hands.  We called the hotel and they found it for us so it was no problem.  But that didn't stop me from teasing Robyn about not wearing a wedding ring to the singles ward so that she could hit on single guys.

In addition to those little anecdotes, the best thing about this weekend was getting away from our normal lives and getting a chance to reconnect with each other.  We've had an amazing two years and I look forward to many, many more.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Which is scarier?

I finished another zombie book the other day. That night I had several strange dreams about battling zombies. Each time I woke up and just rolled over and fell back asleep. After several of those dreams I had a real nightmare. I dreamt that I was back in school. I couldn't remember when assignments were due, I couldn't find my classes and I woke up in a cold sweat with my heart racing.

To all of my friends that are still in school, you face a fate worse than a zombie apocalypse on a daily basis. Now that is courage.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

My Grown Up Halloween List

Last Christmas I wrote about My Grown Up Christmas List. I mentioned how excited I was that my brother Zack had gotten engaged. I also said, "There are a few more couples on my grownup Christmas List. They know who they are. But their relationships are not quite to this point yet so I am transferring them to my grownup birthday list." Well, my birthday came and went, without anyone thinking that they should get engaged as a celebration of the anniversary of my birth.

Megan (Robyn's sister) and Graham had to be transferred to my Grown Up Halloween List.  There are only two items on that list.

1. A DVD of Disney's Halloween Treat (a classic from my childhood)
2. Megan and Graham would get engaged.

I have excellent news for all of you.
1. Robyn has authorized the purchase of Disney's Halloween Treat and even said she would watch it with me on Halloween.
2. Megan and Graham finally got engaged!

They tried to throw me off the scent a few times, by doing things such as breaking up.  That made Robyn very sad, but it didn't phase me.  I knew it would all work out in the end.  This kind of preciousness doesn't happen everyday.

Of course, they haven't achieved perfection yet.  They still have a few things to work on, like learning how to kiss.

But if you really want to see preciousness check out the soon to be brothers.
Clearly we belong in the same family.  I can't think of anything more awesome.  Except maybe a bowl of popcorn as I sit down to watch Disney's Halloween Treat.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

A More Correct Way

A while back I wrote about my obsessive compulsive disorders.  In a recent conversation with a coworker, I discovered there is something else that I am obsessive compulsive about that I failed to mention in my previous post.  You see, there is a very specific way that is the only correct way to eat Frosted Mini Wheats.  I only bring this up because it is so important.  There may be people out there who are doing it incorrectly.  I consider this blog post to be somewhat of a public service announcement.

First, it's important to note that although Frosted Mini Wheats are delicious, Frosted Mini Spooners from Malt-O-Meal are actually more delicious.

Second, it's important to put in enough milk to submerge the bottom mini spooners but not fill the whole bowl.  Too much milk will cause some of the little guys to get soggy.  Not enough will not allow them to get properly soft.

The next step is the most important.  This is where my coworker (Let's call him Ben, since that's his name) disagreed with me.  It's very important that you eat the spooners that are submerged in the milk first.  (otherwise they could go soggy)  As you select each one, you must turn it so that the frosted side is down before you scoop it up in your spoon.  This has a dual purpose.  First, it makes sure that the frosting gets submerged fully in the milk, so that you can achieve desired softness.  Second, when you place it in your mouth the softened frosting is laying directly on your tongue.  This maximizes the joy that you will feel. Of course, other spooners will then fall in the milk to replace the ones you eat.  This is the desired result.

Ben disagreed.  He felt that the frosting side should always be up.  He is a believer in a crunchier frosting.  Ben's usually a pretty smart guy.  I figured if he had gone astray on this issue, there might be others out there with this same problem.  That's why I share this wisdom with you.

The final step is that you may need to pour more milk in, since you didn't fill the bowl fully.  Don't be concerned by this.  You'll generally need to pour one more time.  It may take some time to learn how to do your second pouring such that it lasts all the way to the end but doesn't leave any leftover.

In order to facilitate the world eating Mini Wheats/Spooners properly, my brilliant mind created a fabulous idea.  (Ben may want to interject that this brilliant invention was his idea, but I think he would realize that it was his exposure to my brilliant mind that allowed him to come up with the idea.)  What if there was a contraption that you could put milk and Mini Spooners into and it would serve up each one properly softened by milk, but it could store them seperate so as to never allow sogginess.

Whoever among you wishes to implement this idea, I will accept your donation of one million dollars even though the idea is worth much more.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Dreaming of Tower Defense

So I had another strange dream.  I'm putting this one out there for interpretation as well.  Feel free to discover all my disorders and psychosis.

Warning, the following dream contains zombies.  Some people, like my wife, are offended by zombies.  Please do not read any further if this is the case.

(The screen goes wavy and when it comes back it is in black and white.  The dream sequence has begun.)
So I was in my house, and I suddenly became aware that we were under attack by zombies.  (You'd be surprised how often zombies appear in my dreams.  I'd be interested to know what that means.)  So I constructed a large gun turret on the top of my house.  Next, I built a maze leading to my house so that the zombies would have to wind through it to get to me.  My gun turret dominated all the zombies while they were winding through the maze.

After the wave of zombies was complete, there was a wave of terminators.  My gun turret continued to dominate the terminators.

(End dream sequence)  I woke up to find that my real life was actually not a tower defense game.  It turns out reality just doesn't make as good of a game.
But, I believe there are a few possible interpretations of this dream.

1. I'm being warned that I need to prepare for either A) The zombie apocalypse or B) The rise of the machines.  Luckily, putting a gun turret on top of my house helps with both scenarios.

2. I play too many tower defense games and read too much science fiction.  That one is clearly not true.

3. Someone is trying to do inception on me to get me to build a gun turret on my house.  This is the most likely scenario.

Whatever the real scenario is, the important thing is that Robyn and I have had the talk.  You know the one I'm talking about.  I know that every couple has the talk at some point.  We discussed what to do if one of us turns into a zombie.  Too many families don't have the talk, and the following chart is a result of being unprepared.
So be sure to be prepared.  Unless you think my dream means something else.  What is your opinion?

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Turns Out I'm Not Fancy

This year Robyn was selected as Teacher of the Year at her school. It makes perfect sense because she is more awesome then awesome. On a scale of 1 to awesome, she would be like awesome times 12.

So as a reward for her awesomeness she got a 50 dollar gift card to La Caille. For those of you who don't know what La Caille is, it is a super fancy french restaurant up the canyon near Sandy. I knew it was super fancy, so the fanciness of the restaurant didn't surprise me. The surprising thing that was revealed to me is that I am absolutely not fancy. (I don't know why that was surprising. I've never been fancy before.)

So first of all, we get there and there isn't a parking lot. You just pull up to the door and let the valet take your car. Then you walk in and sit down and they have a different menu for every course. We ordered our appetizers and I got a delicious portabello mushroom with various vegetables on top.
This was the first clue that I wasn't fancy.  I like food to be delicious.  In my mind, there's no reason to decorate food.  So I couldn't figure out why there was a tree growing out of it.  I ate around it for a while, I wasn't sure what I was supposed to do.  Eventually I just pulled it out, but I tried to hide it due to my shame that I didn't know what it was for.

The next clue that I wasn't fancy came when they brought us the menu for the main course.  Everything was ridiculously expensive.  I was commenting to Robyn about the prices, and how they were all written out in words.  She didn't see it anywhere so I showed her on my menu.  Apparently they have boy menus and girl menus, I'm not supposed to show her the prices.  Hmmm... guess I'm not fancy.

Of course, my favorite item on the menu was the lobster.  It didn't even list a price.  But financing is available if that makes you feel better.
Robyn got a delicious roast duck and I got a fabulous steak.  As we enjoyed our meal, another evidence of my lack of fanciness came about.  The couple at the table next to us was admiring a painting.  They talked to the waitress about it and she said they could buy it if they wanted.   They then sat and discussed for the next 20 or 30 minutes which home it would look best in.  I think they discussed more home possibilities then we could have even discussed for room possibilities in our house.

When dessert came, I ordered a delicious crepe.  It was quite delicious but I longed for the more delicious and less fancy crepe stands in Paris.  They also brought us these chocolate covered strawberries.  When I saw that the strawberries were dressed more fancy than me:  well, it was just another confirmation of the non fancy facts.

After dinner, we walked around the grounds.  It was very beautiful, we took this picture looking back at the restaurant.
As we walked back to the front of the restaurant to get our car from the valet, I naturally pulled out my phone so I could google how much to tip the valet.  We sat there waiting for the car to return.  We looked around at other cars, there were Lexus, Mercedes and all manner of fanciness.  The valet returned with our extremely fancy Hyundai.  I handed him his tip (a roll of ones that Robyn rolled up to look more fancy) and we drove off into the non fancy regular world.  We really enjoyed our walk through the fancy world that the other half lives in.

Perhaps one day we'll make lots of money and become fancy.  Maybe that day we'll go back and sit at a meal and discuss our different homes.  Maybe some regular couple will marvel at our fanciness.  But that is not this day.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Art I can Understand

I admit it, I don't understand art.  This lack of understanding spans all forms of art.  I don't seem to get paintings, poetry eludes me and dance is a true mystery.  Robyn really enjoys watching So You Think You Can Dance.  I watch it with her on occasion.  There was one particular time a little over a year ago when we were watching.  The judges on the show were crying, Robyn was crying and I was just confused.  I thought to myself, "They moved across the stage, why is everybody crying?"  I could move across the stage, and I think people would cry then too, but probably for a different reason.  I asked Robyn to explain the dance to me.  She said things like, "Look how he carries her across the stage, that symbolizes her fight with breast cancer and how she can't do it alone."  So it turns out there's some kind of secret code, that reveals these things to those who are in the know.  I'm cool with codes, if I can learn binary I can pick this one up too.

That's not to say I can't appreciate art.  I can think that a dance or a painting is pretty even if I don't understand the secret code.  But the art I really like is the kind that I do get the code.  There is some art that just makes sense.
The Kramer is one that just makes sense.  Look at Kramer, he's awesome.  That is what this piece says to me: "Awesome."
Or then there's a piece like this.  I saw this in the Louvre in Paris.  The guy's got a cleaver in his head, his skin is gray.  He's a zombie, I get it.  Robyn was offended that I took a picture of it, but who can't appreciate zombie art?

Well, why am I telling you about my art deficiencies?  This week I saw some art that had some real symbolism and I actually got it.  Not only did I get it, but it actually touched me.  So I thought I should share it with all of you.  Don't worry, I won't be offended if you don't get it, because the best part is the artist has a whole page that explains the symbolism, how cool is that?

Anyway, here are the two pieces.  (You'll have to follow the links to see them, the site wouldn't let me steal the images.)

The first is called the Forgotten Man.  The man in the center is every American.  Barack Obama stands triumphantly over the defeated constitution while FDR, Woodrow Wilson, Bill Clinton and others are applauding.  James Madison gestures to his beloved constitution while Lincoln, Washington, Reagan and Jefferson all gesture to the forgotten man, as his needs and the freedom of all Americans has been forgotten.

The second is called One Nation Under God.  The Savior stands holding the Constitution while many of those who believe in Him and in Freedom stand with him.  Those who stand against the Constitution are in the right hand corner, and dwelling in the dark where you can barely see him is Satan.  I think the imagery is so powerful.

It's not often that art moves me, so I had to share this with everyone.  Since I couldn't embed the images here is a video with some of the artists commentary about the Forgotten Man.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Chocolate Emergency

"Our world faces a true planetary emergency."
-Al Gore

For once in his life, Al Gore was correct.  He may not have known the nature of the emergency, but Robyn and I experienced it last night.

You see, in the nearly two years that I have been married I have learned something about the chemical makeup of females.  There is something in them that causes dire circumstances when they do not have chocolate.  It can come without warning.  One moment, they are fine, and the next they are approaching death.  Of course, I follow the boy scout motto which is "Be Prepared" so I always have an emergency stash in the house.  But what if the emergency comes when we are away from the house?

Well, Robert Baden-Powell, the founder of scouting, had this to say about preparation:
"Be Prepared... the meaning of the motto is that a scout must prepare himself by previous thinking out and practicing how to act on any accident or emergency so that he is never taken by surprise." 

I'll have you know, I was not taken by surprise.  I knew we didn't have time to go all the way home.  I took her to the grocery store on the way home.  We needed two kinds of chocolate.

A)We needed something to eat in the car on the way home to sustain her life.
This can be a very tricky thing to decide.

B)We also needed something more amazing to eat when we get home.
Robyn made an excellent choice.  This is why I don't mind chocolate emergencies.

Ahh.. Crisis averted.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


It's been a while since I have updated you all on the funny things our sunbeams say and do.  I thought I'd share an experience that happened today.

Our lesson was on how we should be thankful for food and clothes.  We started out by talking about some of their favorite foods, then we asked them where food came from.  "My dad" was the unanimous answer.  But we wanted to help them discover that food comes from plants and animals and ultimately exists because God made it for us. 

So we asked them where Dad got the food. 

"The grocery store"

"Where does the grocery store get food?"


I guess WalMart is the source of all things.  Later, we were talking about clothes.  We asked where our clothes came from.  "WalMart" was again the answer. 

"Where does WalMart get the clothes?"


I guess it just makes sense.  If the Lindon WalMart runs out of stuff, there has to be another WalMart that has what they need.  They probably just go buy it at the Orem WalMart.  So now you know.  It all came from WalMart.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Analyze This

I had a very strange dream.  That's not unusual.  I'm pretty sure all of my dreams are pretty strange.  What is unusual is that I remembered the contents of the dream.  So, I now present to you the contents of my dream in hopes that the people of the internet will present me amusing speculation on the meaning of my dream.

(Now entering the dream world, imagine the screen goes all fuzzy or maybe we switch to black and white, or whatever cinematography means "dream" to you)

Robyn and I were driving on the freeway.  But we were in separate cars.  I don't know where we were going or where we were coming from.  But we were on the freeway and it was raining harder than I have ever seen.  It was raining so hard that we decided to pull off the freeway.  (I don't remember talking to Robyn on a cell phone, but somehow we mutually made the decision, that's how unified we are.)

As we pulled off the freeway the exit was super steep.  There was lots of mud on the road and cars were having trouble getting traction.  A few had run off the road and Robyn was one of them.  Instead of attempting the exit, I just pulled off the shoulder of the freeway and went and checked on Robyn.  She was fine, so the two of us decided to walk.

We walked to my Grandma and Grandpa Stockett's house.  Like I said earlier, I'm not sure where we were headed, but apparently, Grandma's house was on the way.  (In the real world, Grandma's house is not on the way to anything.)  When we got to Grandma's house, we were given a room to stay in, but we also discovered that Reese Witherspoon was staying the night there as well.

I'm sure Grandma and Grandpa wouldn't deny Reese a place to stay if she was in need.  I'm just not sure why she was there.  At any rate, there we were at Grandma's with Reese Witherspoon.(Withoutaspoon really)  Also, Reese was very pregnant.  I don't know if she has kids in real life or if she's ever been pregnant but in dream world she was extremely pregnant.

Robyn decided she needed to share a room with Reese.  She said that since Reese was pregnat that she was going to need someone to take care of her.  I tried to explain that she could come get us if she needed anything but Robyn would have none of it.  So I went back to my room all alone.  I was really cranky at Robyn that she liked pregnant Reese Witherspoon more than me.

Then the alarm went off and I woke up.  (end dream sequence) (begin contemplative sequence) So what does it all mean?  Why was there a pregnant Reese Witherspoon at Grandma's house?  Robyn speculates that the dream reveals that I'm afraid of her being pregnant.  I don't think that works, wouldn't she have been pregnant in the dream?  I think it could just as easily mean a fear of rainstorms, Grandma's house, or Reese Witherspoon.  (Okay, not Grandma's house.  That would be ridiculous, how could anyone fear Grandma's house?)

What do the people think?

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Temple Tourism

Recently, Robyn and I had the opportunity to go to Switzerland.  We were blown away by the mountains there, but we also really enjoyed the opportunity of going to the Bern Switzerland temple.  I thought it was so amazing to see what was the same as well as what was different. 

I turned to Robyn and told her that we were visiting a temple on the other half of the world, but we hadn't even visited all the temples in Utah.  We decided right then and there to set a goal to visit all of the Utah temples.  This is no small task since there are 12 temples currently, with 2 more that have already been announced.  But we feel it will be worth it, and we'd like to visit lots outside of Utah as well.  It's exciting to see the differences in architecture, layout, decorations and even language.  My favorite is to see what each celestial room looks like, because they are all different but all beautiful.  But as fun as all the differences are, it is even more exciting to see what is the same throughout the world.

So today we started out fairly simple.  We drove up to the Jordan River temple.  I decided it was important to document each temple that we visit for our goal, so after we did a session we walked all the way around the temple taking pictures with my new fancy iPhone.  Here are two of them.  I was trying to be all artsy with the sun shot behind the Angel Moroni.  The other one is naturally a self portrait of us with the temple behind us.

We saw people looking at us thinking that we've never seen a temple before or something.  We totally looked like tourists.  But it was fun to do some temple tourism.  We're going to be temple tourists all over Utah, and maybe a little bit throughout the world.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Europe Trip Part 3: Germany

Germany was home base on our trip.  My aunt and uncle live in Wiesbaden so we stayed with them and branched out from there.  After doing road trips to France and Switzerland we returned to Germany to do some sight seeing there.

The first thing that blew my mind about Germany was the Autobahn.  We were going about 85 mph but people were passing us like we were standing still.  It really made me want to get a sweet BMW or Mercedes so I could experience the true potential of the Autobahn.  One thing I thought was fascinating is that they plant trees all along the sides of the Autobahn.  There are no billboards and you can't see beyond the trees so people keep their eyes on the road.  As a result of this there are very few car accidents, even with the high speeds.

While in Germany, whenever we were out and about we would stop for ice cream.  Only it's not ice cream, they don't have any cream in it and they just call it "ice".  It's way better than our ice cream, and it was actually pretty cheap.  Everything else in Europe would cost an arm and a leg, but you could have an ice cone for 70 Euro cents.

The first full day in Germany we took a trip to Berg Eltz.  It was a pretty cool looking castle.
Once we were inside the castle, Sheldon and I were looking out at the walls and towers trying to decide where we would place our archers.  I'm pretty sure living in a castle must have been like one big tower defense game.  I was hoping we would get attacked by orcs or something but it didn't happen.

The other castle we went to was Heidelberg.  Unlike the first castle, this was was a ruin that had been attacked in the 1500's.  This is one of the towers where they had kept the ammunition.  When it was attacked, the enemy snuck into the tower and blew it up from the inside.  The 22 foot thick walls kept them from attacking it from the outside.
As you can see, the folks at Heidelberg were not as good at tower defense games. 

A large portion of the castle was still intact though, so we were still able to walk through much of it.  The castle was on top of a huge hill so the view looking down on the city was pretty awesome.
We tried the various local german foods, I had bratwurst, schnitzel and various other things.  One night, though, we decided we needed to try a place called Waldgeist (it means forest ghost).  They advertise XXXXXL portions.  Robyn and I ordered a giant burger to share.
Together we were able to eat about half of it.  I also ordered a large water so they brought me a 2 liter "cup" that looked more like a vase.  Don't worry, I drank it all.
But one of my favorite things we did in Germany was that we went to Rudesheim where we took a gondola ride up to the statue of peace.
This statue was built after World War 2.  It symbolizes Germany's desire for peace and represents a promise that they will not enter into war unprovoked.  The statue is pointing the hilt of its sword toward France as a special peace offering to the French who were occupied by the Nazi invaders.

Germany was a fabulous end to our trip.  We got to eat some great food, see some cool stuff and learn a little bit of history. The way home seemed eternal, but we were sure glad to sleep in our own beds again.
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